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Champions Trophy 2017: Pakistan break ICC tournaments jinx against India

19 June 2017

Fakhar Zaman capitalised on a lucky escape to strike a superb 114 and lift Pakistan to a commanding total of 338 for four in the Champions Trophy final against arch-rivals India at The Oval on Sunday.

By the time Sarfraz took the final catch, off the bowling of the tournament's leading wicket-taker Hasan Ali, who finished yesterday with 3-19 and the Champions Trophy with 13 wickets, there was barely an Indian fan to witness it.

Babar came out of the opener's shadows - but after Shoaib Malik and he holed out in the off-side deep, Hafeez (57 not out) hit four fours and three sixes to power well past the 300 benchmark required against India's powerhouse batting line-up in these run-fest conditions.

The Pakistan that so meekly succumbed to India in their opening match at Edgbaston were utterly rancid in the field, with a catalogue of costly fumbles, overthrows and two dropped catches pointing decisively to a short stay in the tournament.

Former New Zealand captain and swashbuckling batsman Brendon McCullum said: "Brilliant from Pakistan!"

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"Congratulations @TheRealPCB, the team & the whole country for such a great win.#CT17. I'm so happy for the nation of Pakistan who have been waiting for this for a long time".

Earlier, Fakhar Zaman's maiden one-day global hundred was the cornerstone of Pakistan's 338-4.

The margin of victory - by a massive 180 runs with just under 20 overs to spare - was as emphatic as it was surprising for a team who tested the skin on their teeth and the seats of their trousers to the limits to get over the line.

"Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli have been in tremendous form so I was looking for early wickets - and I did it", said Amir.

Amir's redemption from the match-fixing scandal of 2010 now seems complete, the turnaround from three months in prison in 2011 to yesterday's hero sealed with his part in Pakistan's first 50-overs trophy since Imran Khan's Cornered Tigers in the World Cup 25 years ago. It was formalities for Pakistan after that and they clinched the win by bowling out India for 158 in the 31st over. It's a young team, credit goes to my boys, this tournament can be a great booster for us.

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India lost its first wicket in the first over itself.

"That was an aberration".

But the two openers became more convincing and in the 20th over, bowled by Jadeja, reached their 50s from consecutive balls - Fakhar second to the milestone from one delivery fewer when he cut his seventh four straight through the hands of Yuvraj at point.

Fakhar, the man-of-the-match, shared an opening stand of 128 with Azhar Ali (59). However, all three were completely undone in the final, as Amir bowled a lethal spell. Team India, who were the defending champions of the tournament, had the chance to create history under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.

"I want to congratulate Pakistan first, they had an incredible tournament". The way they turned things round speaks volumes for the talent they have.

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